Wednesday, January 8, 2014

8 things about new years resolutions

I like to hit reset at the start of the year with some "resolutions." Which I will happily share with the world but at the moment they are still in the planning stage so instead on this 8th day of January I'll share 8 (possibly ridiculous) things I think I know about new years resolutions.


1. Resolutions should be your own. Last year I was super inspired by my little brother who had one resolution for each month of the year (the year before) and he did each and every one. So I tried the same thing. Made my list and everything and made it 2 whole months.  I actually did one of the other months because it was June Ironman France (check!). But overall: fail. It's okay I learned that it doesn't work for me this way. Moving on.

One thing that I'm not resolving to do but that does fascinate me is Run this Year. Check it out if you're curious.

2. Resolutions are mostly different from goals and to do lists. This is actually just a wording/goal setting pet peeve of mine. I think that resolutions means resolving to change a behavior you currently have. For example I resolve to go to the gym more or I resolve to quit smoking. (not my goals I don't smoke and I hate the gym).

Setting goals means you have something you aspire to do: for example I want to win my age group in a sprint triathlon (not actually my goal but that would be fun).

To do lists are things that need to get done for example floss every day. Floss every day is something for a to do list.  I guess flossing is also kind of a resolution if you know that you never floss because you should floss so that your teeth don't fall out any sooner than they need to and also to avoid the lecture from the dental hygienist.

Anyway this is just semantics and on top of that just my opinion and on top of that even I admit it doesn't matter.

3. Planning is the important part. Maybe planning isn't the only important part but it's a big part. Just saying you're going to do something doesn't always/usually/ever work. Even if you write it down it might not work. But if you take the time to figure out the steps from how to get from where you are to where you want to be then usually you can get it done. Of course, I think planning is also the time consuming hard part.

If you take 10 seconds and google goal planning template you'll find a wealth of info there to get you started. 

4. When setting resolutions/goals it's smart to be specific. The more time you spend thinking about what you really want to achieve and why the happier you'll be with the result.

Many people end the year feeling gluttonous and out of shape. And they then resolve to go to the gym every day or perhaps just more. But they don't stick to it because it's not really a well defined goal.

If instead you take the time to figure out what your actual motivation and your desired result are then you might be better off at the end. For example a more defined goal might be: I want to take care of myself throughout the year and feel healthy and strong at the company holiday party at the end of the year (not my goal I felt pretty fabulous at my husband's holiday party).

A mommy version of the gym goal is if you say you'll never yell at your kids. Okay ... impossible. If the kid runs toward traffic yelling might be a pretty good idea. Also kids are infuriating sometimes. Maybe it's just my kids.

5. Be thoughtful when you plan goals.  So if you're taking time to set resolutions or goals take time to think it through make sure that your goal is what you really want.

I once attended a seminar about goal setting. The speaker was a believer in the principal of attraction. Her story was that she or somebody had asked for a big family get together during the year. She got her wish/request because somebody in the family died and everyone got together for a funeral.

The skeptic in me says the two things aren't necessarily related.

Nonetheless, perhaps it's prudent to think a little farther and make your request for a happy or joyful big family get together.


6. I find it helpful to keep my goal in front of me. When I'm working on something specific like run the NYmarathon in 4hours and 30 minutes or finish Ironman France. I keep that goal front and center. I actually keep it posted in my closet because I'm in there every day. I write it down and tape it up and look at it every day.

I can't find a picture of what my closet looked like right before Ironman France but it was covered with index cards where I had written quotations and pictures of the course. I felt so strongly about it that I peeled it all down and brought it with me to France for comfort. 

7. It's okay to change the goal. Sometimes we start down a path and realize that where we were headed is the wrong direction. Or we realize that what we had planned isn't realistic. For most people exercising every day isn't realistic. Or perhaps halfway through Ironman training you realize it's ripping your family apart. A few years ago I had to look at a business I'd built and realize that it was time to shut it down.

It's okay to change your mind. It really is. Reassess. Don't be too hard on yourself and move on.

That last part can be hard.

8. Nobody's perfect ... keep on moving forward. That one really needs no explanation we all skip days, eat too much, get sick ... whatever. Just get right back on track as soon as you can.

hmmm 7 and 8 might be kind of the same. Oh well.

So, do "you" set goals at the first of the year? Wanna share? 

Like I said I'm still thinking about mine but when I get it ironed out (see the iron pun there?) I'll share. 

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